The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : 'Konyak Nagas' by Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, (1969)

caption: head hunting
caption: special rites when head taken in retaliation
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Shiong
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York98:3
text: Some villages, such as Shiong, performed a special rite when a head was taken in retaliation for losses previously suffered. The widow of the avenged man went to meet the successful head-hunters outside the village and thrust a spear into the eyes of the captured head, taunting the victim by reminding him how he had danced in triumph when her husband had been killed. After the head had been brought into the village, the same woman provided a pig for sacrifice in honor of the man who had first wounded the victim. If the village had originally lost several heads, all the widows of those killed speared the captured head and gave pigs for sacrifice, but if only one head had been lost and several taken in revenge, only one pig was sacrificed. In this village the skulls of slain enemies were set up in the chief's house, while the lower jaws were kept in the houses of the head-taker. If the victim had fallen to the spears of several warriors, the skull was divided and each received one piece for storage in his own house or in the ancestral house of his clan.